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Sunday, February 8, 2009

A "mini" Menu 6: Enchiladas, Lemon Pepper Pasta, Mac and Cheese (Take 2)...

Photo credit: Lolo at http://veganyumyum.com

This week’s menu was born of two thoughts as I poked around in my refrigerator this morning –
1. I wasn’t 100% satisfied with the vegan mac and cheese I last made, and have a craving for a better approximation of the ultimate comfort food.
2. I saved the remaining chipotle peppers in adobo sauce from last week’s saucy, hearty, creamy with a kick seitan sandwiches – and could I make an enchilada sauce with them?

Therefore, this week, I’m eating:
  • Enchiladas with Chipotles–in–Adobo sauce
  • Mac and Cheese (Take 2)
  • Spicy Lemon Pepper Pasta with Broccoli

(Oh, and it’s a mini because I’m going out of town for the long weekend – and flying out Thursday night means it’s only a four-day cooking week for me!)

This week’s menu:

Dinner: Enchiladas with Chipotles–in–Adobo sauce
Cook: Enchiladas with Chipotles–in–Adobo sauce

Lunch: Enchiladas with Chipotles–in–Adobo sauce
Dinner: Mac and Cheese
Cook: Mac and Cheese

Lunch: Mac and Cheese
Dinner: Spicy Lemon Pepper Pasta with Broccoli
Cook: Spicy Lemon Pepper Pasta with Broccoli

Lunch: Enchiladas with Chipotles–in–Adobo sauce
Dinner: Mac and Cheese
Cook: Spicy Lemon Pepper Pasta with Broccoli (for next day’s lunch)

Lunch: Spicy Lemon Pepper Pasta with Broccoli
Dinner: Enchiladas with Chipotles–in–Adobo sauce
Cook: --

This week’s recipes:

Enchiladas with Chipotles–in–Adobo sauce
Mexican is my go-to food.

Once, for an entire week, every time my roommate wanted to order food, I wanted Mexican.
Almost every time I’m eating something non-Indian with my parents, it has to be either Mexican or Thai food. (This is because as Indians (from the South Asian subcontinent), they can only consume foods that are spicy. Ok, they can eat other foods – but who else asks for Tabasco sauce at Italian restaurants? )

It may also have something to do with the fact that I am often mistaken for being Latina. (My cousin Amit actually has introduced me to people as his adopted cousin “Julia”, alternatively from Cuba, Spain, Mexican, and the Dominican Republic.)

As a result of some mix of the above experiences and tendencies, I really like Mexican food, and thus here is my recipe for Enchiladas:

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon cornstarch
¼ cup of chilli powder
2 cups of vegetable stock (from bullion cubes)
10 ounces tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon salt

(Note: Because I have leftover adobo sauce from last week, I am going to use 2 tablespoons of chilli powder, and 3 tablespoons of adobo sauce. If you don’t have the adobo sauce, however, just use the chilli powder as listed above.)

1, 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
1, 15 oz. can of red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
¼ cup water
1 packet Ortega taco seasoning

Cooking spray
6 whole-wheat tortillas
2 small red onions, diced
2 medium tomatoes, diced
¾ cup cheddar almond “cheese”, shredded (for inside enchiladas)
¼ cup cheddar almond “cheese”, shredded (for on top of enchiladas)

The sauce:
1. Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the cornstarch. Stir and cook for one minute.
2. Add the chilli powder and cook for 30 seconds.
3. Stir in the stock, cumin, oregano, and tomato paste.
4. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 15 minutes. Stir occasionally - the sauce will thicken.
5. While the sauce is simmering, you should move on to preparing the beans, and chopping the vegetables. If the sauce is done simmering before you’re done assembling the enchiladas, cover, turn off the heat, and let it sit until you’re ready to pour it over the enchiladas.)

The beans:
1. Put beans and ¼ cup of water into blender. Pulse until beans are smooth. You may have to mix the beans around with a spoon in between pulses to make sure they all get crushed.
2. Transfer beans into small pot. Over medium heat, mix in one packet of taco seasoning. Reduce heat to low, cover, and allow the beans to warm until it’s time to assemble the enchiladas. (While you’re preparing the other ingredients, stir the beans occasionally.)

The enchiladas:
1. Spray a 9 x 12 baking pan with cooking spray. Pour ½ cup of the enchilada sauce into the pan. Spread with the back of a wooden spoon so that the bottom of the pan is covered with a light layer of sauce.
2. In their pot, portion the beans into about six equal servings (just use a spoon to separate into halves, and then each half into three sections).

For each enchilada:
a. Spread a portion of beans down the center of the tortilla.
b. Layer the tomatoes , onions, and cheese on top of the beans.
c. Roll the tortillas, burrito-style, and transfer to the baking dish.

3. Line the enchiladas next to each other in the baking dish.
4. Pour the remaining sauce over the enchiladas.
5. Spread remaining cheese over the top of the enchiladas.
6. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 – 25 minutes.
7. Serve and enjoy!

Mac and Cheese (Take 2)
What drew me to try this recipe is that the ingredients are a lot more diverse than the last recipe I tried, which was mostly based in soy milk and nutritional yeast. I could have messed up the proportions, but last time, I had to add a lot of soymilk to temper the taste of the yeast. And, while the cheese sauce had great consistency, it was not lick-my-lips cheesy.

So, while this recipe is not fat-free, it seems great because it has margarine, cashews, miso and tahini to flavor and cream-ify the sauce, in addition to mustard and breadcrumbs for a bit of gooey crunch. (Cashews worked really well in the tomato basil cream sauce last week.) Let’s see what happens.

Click here for the Mac and Cheese (Take 2) recipe.

Spicy Lemon Pepper Pasta with Broccoli
Pick five things and make a dish:

Photo credit: Lolo at http://veganyumyum.com

The photo above made me feel like I was preparing for a Top Chef challenge. (In my own pleasantly vegetarian version of the show, of course.)

But, seriously, in my quest to use simple ingredients to make quick, tasty, dishes that don’t cost a lot of money – this works really well. Bring on a Quick Fire.

Click here for the Spicy Lemon Pepper Pasta with Broccoli recipe.

Note: The recipe has portions for one – because I want to make this twice, I am going to double all of the ingredients in my shopping list.

This week’s grocery list:
Just cross off the things you already have in your pantry or fridge and you’re ready to shop!

2 heads, broccoli
2 lemons
1 large potato
1 carrot
2 small red onions
2 medium tomatoes

Oils, Spices, and Condiments
Olive oil
Vegetable oil
Cooking spray
Red Pepper Flakes
Black pepper
Dried Oregano
Ground Cumin
Chilli Powder
Taco seasoning
Vegetable bullion cubes (to make broth)
Dijon Mustard

Canned and Bottled Goods
1, 8 oz. bottle, sundried tomatoes in oil
1, 8 oz. bottle, tahini
2, 6 oz. cans tomato paste
1, 15 oz. can black beans
1, 15 oz. can of red kidney beans

Dry Goods
1, 16 oz. package of fettucini
1, 10 oz. box of whole wheat rotini
1, 8 oz. package breadcrumbs
3 oz., raw cashews
1, 12 oz. container nutritional yeast


1 container Miso (smallest available)
1 pkg, Earth Balance Margarine
1 pkg, 6 whole-wheat tortillas
8 oz., vegan cheddar cheese (I like almond “cheese”)

1 comment:

  1. Yum! I made that Mac & Cheese last week. It was SO good, I think you'll be impressed!